Arthur P. Baker, 84, of Willmar, died Tuesday, April 27th at Carris Health Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. His funeral will be 11:00 am, Friday, April 30th at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar with interment in Clover Leaf Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7 pm, Thursday, April 29th at the funeral home and continue one hour prior to the service on Friday. www.hafh.org
Arthur “Buddy” Baker was born in Wadena, Minnesota on July 22, 1936, to Paul and Hazel (Avelsgard) Baker. Shortly after, the family moved to Willmar when Art’s father took a job with Tomlinson Lumber.
Art and his sisters grew up on the east side of Willmar and attended Lincoln Elementary, then Willmar High School. In 1953, at age 17, Art joined the U.S. Navy, just after the conclusion of the Korean War. He was stationed at naval bases in Chicago, Illinois; Newport, Rhode Island; Bainbridge, Maryland; Jacksonville, Florida, and also served as an Engineman aboard a naval destroyer in the Caribbean.
On June 11, 1955, Art was united in marriage to Shirley Reigstad in Willmar. They returned to Jacksonville and lived there until Art’s enlistment ended, then they moved back to Willmar in 1957.
During the 1960s, Art worked for the Singer sewing machine company, first in Fort Dodge, Iowa, then in Brainerd, Minnesota. They returned to Willmar in the early 1970s and Art worked in sales and construction for a few years before opening his own Singer store in 1979. Just before retirement, at the age of 60, Art decided to pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant and opened “Art’s Place” in downtown Willmar in 1996. He was well known for his home-cooked meals and weekly klubb special that had people lined-up all the way out the door and down the block.
Art was an avid fisherman who also enjoyed hunting, cooking, gardening, playing cards, being with family and teasing his grandkids. In recent years, he especially enjoyed playing bingo with his neighbors at Sterling Manor and going to visit family and friends on his weekly “Saturday circuit.”
Art is survived by eight children: Rick (Shelly) Baker of Willmar; Sheila (Harvey) Post of Prinsburg; Dawn (Gary) Pladson of Willmar; Randy Baker of Spicer; Rob (Jean) Baker of Spicer; Ross (Joy) Baker of New London; Paul Baker of Belgrade; and Jason (Andrea) Baker of Lincolnton, GA. Also surviving are 21 grandchildren; and 23 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters (Vera, Marie, Evelyn and Jeanette), wife (Shirley) in 2008, and one granddaughter (Tricia).
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